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Fitness gear and gadgets for the New Year

Lisa Armstrong is the mother of two grown daughters, a yoga practitioner, an educator and a long-time freelance writer who focuses on health, wellness, and historical topics that affect humanity's personal and collective well-being.

Fitness gear: Easy ways to get fit

Whether you dread New Year’s health and fitness resolutions or thrive on them to keep you motivated to stay in shape, the right fitness gadgets will make your exercise endeavors not only successful, but also inexpensive and convenient. Here are our top picks for fitness gear for the New Year.

Woman running in winter

1Walking shoes

Experts say that the best place to start your new year fitness routine is to step outside for a walk or run in a good pair of fitness shoes. Although shoes are usually the most expensive items to buy, wait until a new model of your favorite walking shoe has just been released. When the old model goes on sale, you can buy extra pairs at this discounted price to save money, says Jeff Salvage of WalkingHealthy.com.

2PedometerPedometer

Add a pedometer to your walking practice for less than $20, says James O. Hill, Ph.D. These budget-friendly electronic step counters are one of the best ways to drop pounds, he says. Hill, who is director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado in Denver, also recommends aiming for 10,000 steps per day to maximize your workouts.

3Running socks

While pacing your way through the week, you may also want to consider the weather, especially as January and February are often cold and wet. Drymax running socks offer blister guards, mesh material and air vents to help keep your tootsies warm and dry. One pair of these socks runs about $16 at SockGeek.com.

4Fitness ballFitness ball

Don't want to start a traditional workout? Try stability or Swedish balls. These inflated plastic balls can be used for many forms of fitness, including traditional crunches and push-ups,  yoga poses, Pilates and other exercise routines. Most run about $20 and can be found in many discount stores as well as online.

5Weights

Try using dumbbells at home, too. If you are really on a budget, ordinary household canned goods or milk or water jugs can be filled with water to substitute for weights. However, most dumbbells can be bought for a reasonable amount, at five to 20 pounds to help you build your way up the rack of weights.

6Racktrap

Then, there's the other "rack" -- the one attached to your chest. Racktrap.com offers a personal bra pocket to carry credit cards or paper money ($8 for one, $20 for four pouches). Made of hypo-allergenic polyester, the Racktrap fits in between your sports bra and your chest.

7RebounderRebounder

A rebounder or indoor exercise mini-trampoline may be just the ticket if you don't want to invest in a treadmill, or need a break from the cold. Simple personal trampolines can be bought for less than $50 and should last a long time.

8Jump rope

Another cardio workout can easily be obtained by jumping rope, and in combination with other exercises. Ropes come in weighted or non-weighted forms, and can be purchased for $8-$20 at most stores and on the Internet. A plastic, rubber or beaded rope is best for in-home use, says Andrew Cutler, advanced personal fitness instructor with YMCA Canada.

9Yoga mat cleanupYoga mat cleanup

As a break from all that jumping, running and walking, you might like to turn to a yoga routine. But after a long yoga session, you may be leaving behind a less than desirable odor on the mat. To the rescue are Jo-She's yoga mat cleaning wipes with real essential oils. These individually wrapped wipes come in fragrances of eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint and tangerine, and in packets of 20 for $11.95. An added bonus? The beautiful fragrance is another motivation to work out again soon!

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